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Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dog Food Review (Dry)

Mike Sagman

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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Updated: March 28, 2024

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Which Rachael Ray Nutrish Recipes Get Our Best Ratings?

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain product line includes the 2 dry dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Recipe and Label Analysis

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Chicken and Sweet Potato was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Chicken and Sweet Potato

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

28.9%

Protein

15.6%

Fat

47.5%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, chicken meal, sweet potato, sunflower meal, pea starch, dried peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whole flaxseed, tapioca, whole dried potato, turkey meal, salmon meal, canola meal, natural flavor, salt, dried plain beet pulp, menhaden fish meal, taurine, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), niacin, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, manganese sulfate, calcium iodate), choline chloride, zinc sulfate, citric acid (preservative), rosemary extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 26% 14% NA
Dry Matter Basis 29% 16% 48%
Calorie Weighted Basis 25% 33% 42%

Ingredient Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the eleven essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a cat food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The next ingredient includes sunflower meal, a by-product of the oil extraction process – and an item more typically found in feed for livestock.

Although sunflower meal contains about 34% protein, it would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth ingredient lists dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. This item is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The ninth ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this Rachael Ray product.

With 4 notable exceptions

First, beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

Next, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.

Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.

In addition, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.

And lastly, this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

Which means this Rachael Ray product line contains…

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried potato, sunflower meal, dried peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Our Rating of Rachael Ray Nutrish Dog Food

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain is a grain-free dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Rachael Ray Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Rachael Ray through March 2022.

No recalls noted.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

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More Rachael Ray Brand Reviews

The following Rachael Ray dog food reviews are also posted on this website:

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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